14 movies with strong female characters to watch on Valentine’s Day

(Alternate title: 14 movies with strong female characters to watch on Valentine’s Day instead of Movies that Portray Women as One-Dimensional, Subject to the Sexual Dominance of Toxic Masculinity, and Lacking Physical/Emotional/Sexual Autonomy.)

Welcome to my third annual Valentine’s Day blog post.

To summarize what I have said in years past, February 14th is a commercialized “holiday” that celebrates the societal pressure of exchanging expensive objects and/or feelings and/or bodily fluids. Basically I think it’s dumb.

I’m not hating on celebrating love here, don’t get me wrong, but I think commercializing love and creating a culture where happiness is based on whether or not you have a significant other is downright ridiculous.

It creates an environment where love and sex are glamourized without being discussed in educational ways.

Valentine’s Day is a great time* to talk to the people you love (and/or random strangers!) about consent, healthy relationships and safe sex. Have discussions about feminism, marriage equality, intersectionality, and LGBTQ+ issues. These are vital when it comes to maintaining the healthy relationships the media keeps telling us we need.

Love and relationships are more diverse than the media lets on, and it is important to bring these discussions to the table with your partners, parents, children, friends (and almost literally everyone else).

With movies like Fifty Shades of Grey hitting theatres on Valentine’s Day, it’s especially important to talk about consent and the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one. For this movie to be released on Valentine’s Day–the most “romantic” day of the year–it should not go unnoticed that this film (and its sequels) is causing debates about manipulation, abuse, consent, and BDSM.

These are good conversations to have.

Valentine’s Day is also a perfect day to support portrayals of women in media that are actually, you know, awesome.

So instead of spending $50 to see a movie where women are yet again diminished to nothing other than a submissive, vulnerable, materialistic, sexual being, why not watch a movie starring some strong women in the comfort of your own home?

People are perfectly capable of existing without a romantic relationship, in case you thought you were going to crumble into dust because you’re single. No worries. You are not going to crumble.

So as per internet tradition, I’m providing you with some alternate ideas on how to spend your V-Day, whether or not you’re spending it with your partner, your parents, your friends, or your cat.

This year I’m going to throw some movies at you starring badass ladies who don’t need no man.

Or even if they have a man, they are not entirely dependent on him for literal survival.

1. The Hunger Games

Katniss not only faces the physical and psychological challenges of the Games, but also society’s obsession with beauty and romance. She kicks ass (literally and metaphorically), fights perceptions of material beauty, and literally overthrows a government with the help of some very badass female and pro-female characters.

2. Mary Poppins

A business woman who takes no crap from no one, Mary is a sharp-witted realist who don’t need no man and just enjoys their friendship. (Suggested by Cassie.)

3. Little Women

Jo March, her sisters, and Marmee have been my heroes from childhood. Unconventional, independent, and unafraid to defy society, they are all talented, autonomous, and role models to those around them. Ripe with female relationships and highlighting female strength, just watch it. Please. (Suggested by Cassie.)

4. Elizabeth the Golden Age

She’s a warrior. She’s unmarried. She doesn’t need sex, romance, or a man in order to rule as the greatest monarch in British history and kick patriarchy’s ass in the process.

5. The Messenger

How often do we see a woman pull an arrow out of her own chest?

6. The Help

I don’t recall any moments where these women backed down because the patriarchy told them to. Not to mention teaching girls about self-esteem and the value of treating others as equals. (Suggested by Jordan.)

7. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

In which total of three (THREE) female characters are formidable business women who balance sky-high careers with relationships, family, marriage, and politics. (Admittedly they are all white, heterosexual, and cisgender women…but I mean, it’s a start and still deserves a pat on the back because this is still far too rare a sight in film.)

8. Mulan

Because Mulan.

9. Frozen and/or Brave

Yes I went there. No you cannot see Frozen or Brave too many times. And Elsa, Anna, and Merida make up quite the matriarchy if I do say so myself.

10. Jane Austen movies

Because who doesn’t love sassy, fierce, independent women ahead of their time? (Emma suggested by Sarah.)

11. The Iron Lady.

Because female politicians. (This is on my personal to-see list.)

12. Clueless

It’s based on Jane Austen’s Emma who is one of the most badass female characters in classic literature. Sooo. (Suggested by CassieSarahJordan. I haven’t actually seen it, yet. If this many different people suggested it…the people have spoken. Also read this article).

13. The Color Purple

“It’s a movie with such strong female characters and how strong they freaking are. The support they give each other defines the way women should treat each other.” * *

14. Thelma and Louise

“So many feminist overtones. It re-scripts typical gender roles of society and it’s in general a great film about strong and capable women, and the struggles they face.” * *

*It’s always a good time to talk about these issues!

**Jordan kindly offered these brief descriptions since for some reason I have yet to see Thelma and Louise or The Color Purple and I feel like these are important to include.

~

I only posted 14 movies…well, because Valentine’s Day is the 14th. I know there are more movies out there, so leave them in the comments below or tweet them to me @LibbySometimes!

2014’s V-Day Post: 28 Things to do on Valentine’s Day (Illustrated with Harry Potter Gifs)

10 gift ideas for one university student from another

Despite the fact that Christmas is still more than a month away and that I hate the over-commercialized monstrosity that November 1st-January 1st has become, Christmas is beginning to be unavoidable. I bought eggnog on the weekend, I’ve caught myself humming Christmas carols, and I started mentally saluting those who have decked the sidewalks of the city with the first tricklings of twinkle lights.

Christmas is coming, and along with it, a slew of online pieces declaring the best thing to get the X in your life. Most of the items on these lists are cute but costly, and the lists of adorable DIY gifts are oriented to talented people who have time.

University students have neither an abundance of pocket money or the time to make something thoughtful for the important people in their lives at Christmas. While I don’t completely buy into the idea that everyone IS COMPELLED BY THE BLAZING PITS OF CONSUMERISM HELL to give presents to absolutely everyone they know ON PAIN OF DEATH, I understand the desire to give your friends and family something for the trouble they go through in simply knowing you.

So here we are, you on that side of the screen and me on this side. Hi. Thanks for still sitting there. You must be pretty cool.

Finding gifts for your family will be a little easier–you’re likely more willing to spend what little money you have on the people who created you and are responsible for your survival up to this point. But what about tes amis? I mean, you love the people in your tutorial for That One Interesting Class You Have, and you still feel like the members of your high school gang are your beloved homies, but you can’t buy cute things on Etsy FOR EVERYONE.

And with finals taking place just before Christmas, you’re going to be too busy sleeping studying to make a hundred decorative clay owls.

Here are a couple gift ideas for your fellow university student. 😉

1. FREE BACK RUBS.

Seriously. University is stressful, and everyone is tense and tired by the time the end of the semester rolls around. Maybe they’ll return the favour. This could be a bonding experience. Or maybe it could be creepy. Mostly it’ll be awesome for them. Maybe they’re cute and this could be your chance. LOLOL.

2. FUZZY SOCKS.

Dumbledore and Dobby got it right. Socks are awesome. And cheap (thanks, Dollarama). And come in a variety of colours and patterns. Not to mention super practical because winter is coming and chances are, like you, your friends have yet to invest in a pair of decent winter boots. This makes socks all the more welcome.

Master has given Dobby a sock!

3. COFFEE/TEA DATE.

Take your pal to a cute cafe (or Tim’s–never undervalue Tim’s. Tim’s can still be cute) and buy them a hot beverage. It’s like three bucks, two if you don’t get a latte. Your company is the real gift here. If you really wanna treat someone extra special (high school homies, what up? Long time no talk except on Facebook!) bring them back to your apartment/dorm and MAKE them tea. Cost goes way down. Also you can cuddle and talk about things that ought to not be discussed in public.

4. TOILETRIES.

If you go to Costco and buy a ton of soap, set aside a chunk for a bro. Us new adults, we’re not used to remembering to buy that stuff, so if you distribute some no-name toiletries to your friends a few less people will have to wash their hair with Sunlight Oxi Action dish detergent until next grocery day. Just put a bow on it.

(Bonus points: toilet paper. It’ll seem like a joke gift, but it will be put to use.)

5. CONDOMS?

Could also be perceived as a joke gift. Also very much free at your university’s student union. This is the cheapest and lamest of the cheap and lame. But hey. You never know. VOILA.

6. PAJAMA DANCE PARTY.

Recommended location: public place.

Recommended music: soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy.

Recommended attire: Santa pajamas or Star Lord costume,

Fun guaranteed. Film it. Post it. Become an internet sensation.

7. BUILD AN OLAF TOGETHER.

Everyone loves building snowmen, and for many of us it might have been awhile since we birthed one of those snowy creations. Snowball fights may or may not ensue. Weather dependent.

8. MASON JARS WITH STUFF IN THEM.

Or other kinds of jars. Like Kraft peanut butter jars. Throw in a bunch of stuff and decorate the lid with a bow and their name.

Ideas for “stuff:” tea bags, chocolate kisses, hot chocolate mix, candy canes, (or even condoms or socks).

9. ANY VARIETY OF CHEAP FOOD, BASICALLY.

Crackers, Mr. Noodle, Tim bits, Dollarama chocolate. A mini jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread. I’m sure they’ll eat it, because you know you will.

10. DO THEIR DISHES.

Lol I’m kidding. It’s Christmas. No one wants to do dishes. Take a nap together.

libby rambles about feelings with gifs

**this is not my typical type of blog post. you are now entering at your own risk into a zone of experimentation and sleep deprivation**

 

 

 

 

i should really be in bed right now, i really should, because i have to get up in the morning like most people and do things like most people and you know, just be a person, because that’s important.

but i also have this nice little piece of the internet with my name on it, and it’s here for me to use, so here i am, flirting with midnight like the saucy rebel i always knew i could be. see this lack of capitalization? total rebel.

i’m going to take some creative licence with my tiredness and ramble on more than i usually would, because usually i like my online presence to be somewhat dignified, or at least controlled ridiculousness — but i am far from dignified or controlled right now, and that’s okay.

high school is done, which hasn’t really hit me yet. i finished my last exam, harassed people into signing my yearbook, and kind-of-celebrated by sleeping in on a friday morning, wherein followed a whole lot of loud music in an empty house whilst wearing a ginormous knitted sweater. because that’s an important detail here.

i’m done. well, not really. there’s still other high school graduate-related things to do, like prom, graduation itself, safe grad, and of course, avoiding all the parties the Class of 2014 will be (and is currently) partaking in. i’m figuring out what life will be like without going to the same building five days a week for the majority of that day. friends will be moving on, i’ll be moving on, new friendships will be attempted, i’ll need to learn how public transit works pretty soon, i need to make actual life decisions, and i can’t decide what is the scariest out of those five things.

i’m in an anxious state of nerves, angst, excitement, and frankly, exasperation. i’m on edge. this isn’t how graduation is supposed to work. i’m supposed to be standing in the sun roof of a car going through a tunnel, screaming about being infinite and such. or maybe i’m getting that mixed up with something else.

this frustration is aggravating. i hate being frustrated. i’m a firm believer that personal happiness is more or less the main goal in life. i’m the type of person who tries to be happy even when maybe i’m not. i’m the type of person who wants everyone to be happy with themselves, even if i really dislike them as a person. happyhappyhappy. be happy dammit. i know happiness is more complicated than just deciding to be happy, but help yourself out. you’re the only person you have left when everyone else has gone home.

 

ordinarily i like to identify myself as a pretty self-confident person, and i retain that sense of self. just, i’m kind of drowning here. not drowning to the point of certain death, just enough water to fill my lungs that it makes breathing more difficult than it should be.

so between trying to find a job, preparing for prom/graduation, searching for the reason of my existence, and resisting the urge to fan-tweet Phillip Phillips, things are a little chaotic under this total serene image of utter calm.

i am 100% okay, and so is everyone else, they just don’t know it yet. there are bigger things we’ll encounter later that make post-graduation feelings of anger seem like kittens playing in really soft toilet paper.

so i’m okay. i’m excellent. and so are you. time for bed now.

good night.

 

 

28 Things to do on Valentine’s Day (Illustrated with Harry Potter gifs)

I admit, it can be cute, and I love individual aspects of Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate, for one. And roses. And love. Those are all nice things.

**warning: next paragraphs are over-exaggerated, melodramatic, and full of gifs**

Buuut, it’s basically a holiday that boosts the greeting card industry, lingerie sales, risk of diabetes, attendance at bad romantic comedy films starring Taylor Swift, and stress (which in extreme cases over time can cause health problems and even death).

We single ladies/men are expected to moan about being alone, sitting at home eating ice cream from a container and watching The Notebook in our pajamas. We single ladies/men are expected to be unhappy.

See this BuzzFeed post. While it’s funny, it’s sarcastic implications are concerning.

I’m not going to dwell on this, because of course everyone knows Valentine’s Day is a great time to be single. While all your attached friends are out having awkward dinners and forgetting to take their birth control, you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. It’s like Christmas, but without the loud relatives and Michael Bublé music blasting from every radio station.

Here are some suggestions for how you can spend your Valentine’s Day, if you’re single or not.

1. You can go out.

Alone or with friends. Or with the Dark Lord. Source here.

2. You can stay in.

…we probably have similar definitions of staying in. You know, pajamas, friends, etc. Source here.

3. Chocolate. I mean, it’ll be on sale tomorrow so you could wait. But you probably shouldn’t.

Filch it. Filch them all. Source here.

4. You don’t have to shave your legs. (You don’t have to shave your legs, ever.)

Even Snape is happy about this. No more Venus razors for me, suckers. Source here.

5. Watch endless episodes of Simon’s Cat.

This is why they invented internet, for ancient Egyptian cat worship. Source here. 

6. Dance to your playlists from highschool in your underwear.

Pretty sure I have the Lovegood dancing gene. Just let loose, man. Dance. Source here.

7. Invite your other single ladies/men over and play board games — because playing board games with your friends is highly underrated.

I’m no chess wiz. I’m more of a checkers type girl. Source here.

8. You can do nothing. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to exist. You can go about your life as usual and ignore consumerist attempts to get you to buy heart-shaped pillows that match absolutely nothing in your house.

Harry is talking the talk. Source here.

9. Buy your cat another bag of Temptations (because I’m sure you already have at least one bag).

Especially if he eats ears. Give the cat some treats. Source here.

10. Send your mom an embarrassing collage of all the selfies you’ve taken together.

harry-potter-selfie

No source necessary. We all know where this came from.

11. Rearrange your Harry Potter books.

Because you’re the only one who knows how to do it correctly, and with love. Source here.

12. Send terrible jokes to Facebook friends you don’t really know.

How many wizards does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Source here.

13. Cuddle.With a pillow, a cat, a dog, a friend, your favourite stuffed animal left over from childhood. Cuddle.

Nothing is better than a long hug. I’m sirius about this, guys. Source here.

14. Blast Serena Ryder.

Dumbledore knows what’s up. Source here.

15. Stalk cute people on Twitter even if they live in a different country.

Twitter flirting is the best flirting. @LibbySometimes 😉 Source here.

16. You should probably be nice and share your chocolate with others. Sharing is caring (even if it’s hard).

chocolate

Bless her heart. I could never do it. Source here.

17. Spend hours on IMDb planning all your trips to the movie theatres for the next year.

Research is important. Source here.

18. Reminisce about your exes. Laugh at all the poor attached people having to suffer through dates and other assorted pressures.

Gotta love uncomfortable social situations. Source here.

19. Eat lots of food for no other reason than because you can.

My life. Source here. 

20. Write a passive aggressive blog post/Facebook status/Tweet about Valentine’s Day.

Vent your feelings. I am. Source here.

21. Watch Jurassic Park.

And do you best raptor impression. Source here. 

22. Watch V for Vendetta.

Hugo Weaving causes excitement where ever he goes. Except future British governments. Source here.

23. Watch Sherlock.

MY FEELINGS. Source here.

24. Watch The Big Bang Theory re-runs.

I applaud your nerdiness, Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Roj. Source here.

25. Watch anything with Liam or Chris Hemsworth’s pretty faces and impeccable jeans genes.

One gif for Chris…

And one for Liam. Sources here and here.

26. Practice your axe-throwing. (Maybe start with darts. Or packing peanuts.)

You know, safety first. Source here.

27. Photobooth.

But I won’t judge you. Source here.

28. For each person you love, send them a single, anonymous red rose with a note that says “I’m watching you.”

That’s a special kind of love. Source here.

So happy Valentine’s Day, if you’re single or not.

Sources here and here.